Ain't nothing like a sunny day at the beach, hanging out with friends...
Lying on the sand...
Dragging bodies wrapped in black sheets across the sand...
We weren't at the beach for a fun day of being pelted by UV rays, but for a fun day of helping Diana with her personal photoshoot. Roman and Davi acted as "bodies on the beach" and Kathy acted as "mysterious woman dragging bodies on the beach" while Greg, Edd, and I took the roles of assistants and documentarians.
And goofing off-ers.
Diana has directed many photoshoots, but this was the first involved one I had ever been to. Not that it was that involved; her set was the beach and the main prop was a black sheet. No need for makeup and hair artists. She just had to tell direct the models, take the photos, and make sure everything came out, you know, perfect.
And she had to deal with this...weirdo.
- .how it ends (where to begin, again). by Diana
The end result looked awesome. If you ever want a portrait that simulates bodies scattered across a beach, she's your woman! (Seriously though, you should hire her to do all sorts of photos, assuming they are not boring. You gotta make it worth her while, you know. "Creative Ideas Only." If all was right with the world, Diana would get more opportunities to take these kinds of photos, but as they are mostly personal projects, the chances are too few.)
If you want to use a tripod at Brighton Beach, you need a permit. Luckily, no one caught us until Diana was on her last shot.
As for some photos that didn't require a tripod...
- Fuuuck meeee. Photo taken by Greg.
And then we were hungry.
Due to lack of planning on my part, we ended up at Cafe Kashkar, a restaurant that I had last visited in 2006 during my first visit to Brighton Beach. Ideally we would've tried a new place, but I knew Cafe Kashkar was a safe choice and everyone else was interested in eating there too. It's not every day you get to eat Uighur food.
My favorite dish was the naryn, simply described as "pieces of dough with seasoning." The appearance of this room temperature dish lived up to its plain description: pile of cheese-looking dough shavings topped with sliced sausage. But such glorious dough shavings with an appealing chewiness and gentle cumin flavor. Want. More.
My second favorite was the pilaf. I'm down with mountains of rice, especially those containing tender chunks of lamb, chickpeas, and carrot shreds, all flavored with cumin.
The geiro lagman was another nice pile-o-caarbs, this time hand pulled noodles, topped with spiced lamb chunks, onion, peppers, and chopped scallions.
We ordered a chicken kebab mostly for Diana's sake since she isn't a big fan of lamb and, in case you haven't noticed yet, a lot of Uighur dishes have lamb in it. But even if you do like lamb, this skewer of moist, spiced chicken is worth getting.
I was less enthused by the samsa, flaky dough pockets filled with chopped lamb and onion, and the manti, like huge-ass dumplings filled with the same lamb and onion mix. The lamb didn't taste as good in these forms—less tender, and with a slight, unappealing funkiness—as in the not-encapsulated-in-dough versions. Unfortunate, considering how much I like things wrapped in dough.
The hemorrhoid pillow-sized naan bread is alright. Not bad, nor a "must order."
After spying bottles of radioactive green tarragon-flavored soda on other tables, we ordered a few bottles for ourselves. It doesn't necessarily fill a craving for tarragon flavor—you might smell it for a second—but it does fulfill the desire for sweet fizzy liquid that is the same color as lime Jell-O or alien spinal fluids.
You may notice a lack of desserts. As did we. Those of us who dared plod on for sweets—Greg, Kathy, Edd, and I—rode the subway back to Manhattan for two of the dessert kingdom's most popular choices: gelato and cupcakes.
First stop: L'Arte del Gelato, my favorite gelateria in the city. In a rare moment of moderation, we shared (shared!) a large cup filled with fruits of the forest (berries), hazelnut, and banana chocolate. All recommended. Yes. Pistachio is my favorite flavor, but it wasn't available that night or else we would've gotten it. Hazelnut isn't as transcendent, but will suffice as a stand-in nut flavor.
I tend to capture Greg during his less-than-sophisticated moments.
Kathy directed us to the nearby wine bar/cupcakerie Sweet Revenge. Before going to the bakery, she described the frosting pattern on the cupcakes by making three subsequent chopping motions with her hand. And going, "Chop chop chop." Or maybe I made that up. Basically, she illustrated the frosting pattern in some way that made me think, "What the hell is she talking about?"
But then I saw it and it all made sense. YAY KATHY!
We shared a Dirty, or dark chocolate ganache on a rich chocolate cupcake. It was fine—good to eat once, not necessarily something I felt like I needed to eat again. Keep in mind that I say that from an "indifferent to dark chocolate" point of view. I liked the smooth, thick ganache frosting, but I found the cake too rich. Is there anything wrong with a rich chocolate cake? Helllllls no. But I probably prefer a more old-school cupcake.
And thus was the end to a fairly epic day, quite a difference from my normally sedentary existence. I hope the random foodings made Edd's visit to New York City bit more memorable. ;) Here's his post about the Brighton Beach outing.
1141 Brighton Beach Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11235